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Airbnb to collect lodging taxes for listings in Gulf Shores, Alabama

  • Oct 17, 2018 | Jennifer Sokolowsky

Alabama lighthouse

Airbnb will start collecting lodging taxes for its hosts in Gulf Shores, Alabama, on November 1, following the city’s approval of an agreement with Airbnb. The deal is expected to result in more than $300,000 in tax revenues every year for Gulf Shores.

The agreement means Airbnb will automatically add the city’s 7 percent lodging tax to all guest bills in Gulf Shores, collect the tax, and remit it to the city.

Airbnb also collects the state’s 4 percent lodging tax, state-administered city lodging taxes, and state-administered county lodging taxes for all Alabama hosts. That includes a 2 percent Baldwin County lodging tax that applies to short-term rentals in Gulf Shores.

However, Airbnb hosts with short-term rentals in cities and counties that aren’t state administered and don’t have agreements with Airbnb must collect lodging taxes on their own.

Short-term rental hosts who use other online rental platforms that don’t collect lodging taxes, such as HomeAway or VRBO, are also responsible for collecting lodging tax and filing lodging tax returns themselves. MyLodgeTax can help Alabama hosts take care of all their lodging tax obligations, including registration, collection, and filing.

Gulf Shores is the No. 1 short-term rental market for Airbnb in Alabama. More than 27,000 Airbnb guests visited the city in 2017, generating  $4.9 million for hosts, according to Airbnb. Overall in Alabama, Airbnb rentals generated $1.4 million in lodging tax revenue for the state in 2017.

Orange Beach, Alabama, approved a similar agreement with Airbnb last year, and is now collecting $20,000 to $30,000 more a month from Airbnb than before the agreement. Birmingham also recently made a deal with Airbnb, which started collecting taxes from Birmingham hosts October 1. Airbnb also has agreements to collect taxes in Auburn, Opelika, and Tuscaloosa.

As part of the deal with Gulf Shores, the city agreed that Airbnb wouldn’t have to reveal identifiable information on hosts/properties or guests “except on an anonymized basis."

In a few other U.S. cities, however, including Chicago and San Francisco, Airbnb has agreed to share some identifiable user data with governments as part of regulation deals.

New York City recently passed a law requiring Airbnb and other online rental platforms to share identifiable information on rentals in order to aid in enforcement of short-term rental laws. Airbnb and HomeAway sued New York City over the regulation, stating that the requirement to release host data violates privacy. 

Lodging tax rates, rules, and regulations change frequently. Although we hope you'll find this information helpful, this blog is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal or tax advice.
Avalara Author
Jennifer Sokolowsky
Avalara Author Jennifer Sokolowsky
Jennifer Sokolowsky writes about tax, legal, and tech topics. She has an extensive international background in journalism and marketing, including work with The Seattle Times, The Prague Post, Avvo, and Marriott.